Any opinions on "The Starlost"?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Ensign Eddie, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. Ensign Eddie

    Ensign Eddie Stunt Coordinator

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    Amazon has "The Starlost" on sale right now for $21.49 (57% off).

    I've often wondered about this series, but have never seen anything but a few pictures and a clip or two.

    Does anyone think this is worth a look?
     
  2. Blimpboy

    Blimpboy Agent

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    If you can handle the fact it was shot on video in the 70's, then yes. I enjoy it the same way I do Doctor Who in the same time period. The concept is top notch. The thoughts and ideas far outway the budget. Great guest stars from that era as well. Iv'e watch half the show with no stinkers yet.
     
  3. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Cinematographer

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    You can get the entire series via torrents. It's lousy quality wise this way but you can try an episode or two to see if you like it first.

    It had all kinds of production problems. The budget was cut waaaaay down causing the special effects to greatly suffer (video tape with *lots* of chroma-key bleed and halos) and there were scripting problems (Harlan Ellison was involved so you can imagine some of the issues). But it is a quite imaginitive concept although a bit weak in overall execution. I also think the acting was a bit sub-par, but that can also be attributed to scripting. For the price, it's not a bad journey into the past of sci-fi on TV.
     
  4. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    I loved it! It's like a mix between Silent Running, Space 1999, and the moral stories of Star trek TNG. 3 young adults travel through a massive space station going from one dome(each dome is around 50 miles in size) to the next meeting different inhabitants of the space station set adrift in deep space.
    If you like sci-fi, I'd say its certainly worth a purchase[​IMG]
     
  5. chas speed

    chas speed Second Unit

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    The show doesn't really deserve it's bad reputation. The program had problems, but at least they tried to do something different. It's worth 21 bucks just for the pilot with Sterling Hayden.
     
  6. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    You could say its like a mix of those movies, and TV shows. But you would have to add, with ZERO production values. It makes the cheapest early 70s episode of Doctor Who look like they spent a million.
    Starlost was made so cheap, that they didnt even build sets. They had bad miniature sets, that they would chroma-key the actors into the shot. Think Doctor Who, or Land of the Lost, only those shows didnt use chroma-key as much as Starlost did. And the production values of both of those shows was much higher.
    Bad scripts, and bad acting top the whole thing off.
    You watch Starlost because its like a train wreck, you just cant turn away. Its so bad you have to watch, and wonder what they were thinking.

    Let me add, i love sci-fi. I love Doctor Who, Star Trek, Space:1999, the whole lot of them! Starlost takes a little from each of them, but makes it look like you, or i made it...30 years ago...when we were 10!

    Dont say i didnt warn you. [​IMG]
     
  7. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    The Starlost is a classic example of Canadian television in the 70s. Zero budget, shot on tape, and the actors make a decent effort, but the production values undermine their efforts at every turn. It's quite painful.
     
  8. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Supporting Actor

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    The concept is good, as you might imagine although it's not really anything "innovative" as far as a sci-fi story goes but the production values are incredible, and I don;t mean that in a good way! Harlan Ellison invoked a clause in his contract that allowed him to have his name removed from the credits he was so disgusted with the way that the story was hacked up and how badly it was being made.

    It makes the worst efforts of Doctor Who look like Star Wars. Some of it really does have to be seen to be believed. There's a delightful bit in one of the later episodes with one of the ship's command robots, which is a collection of carboard boxes and styrofoam cups for ears sprayed gold that trundles sluggishly around...I kid you not...the "Alien Oro's" flying saucer looks like a greenhouse!

    And what the heck did Keir Dullea think he was doing in this train wreck?

    You know what you're in for when the opening credits annnounce that Earthship Ark "8,000 miles in character" is on a collision course with a "type G solar star 5,000 miles in character" - a statement which fails on so many levels it's laughable.

    I also found the Computer Monitor hilarious. That's a sort of computer generated character that appears on various workstations, a sort of animated "helper" that you can ask questions. But for some reason, the face of it is a sort of mad professor type with bizarre hair and huge googly-eye glasses that intones "Can I be of.....assistance?" in the weirdest voice imaginable. It had me shrieking with laughter every time it was on.
     
  9. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    The acting may not be good, but I wouldn't call it a train wreck of a show.
    As far as the Chroma-key stuff, I actually think that adds to it's charm.

    I understand why people bash this show, but sometimes low budget sci-fi is what I want to watch. And I enjoy it[​IMG]
     
  10. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    Completely understand, and i agree with what you say. I love Land of the Lost for instance. But i sure couldnt recommend the show to people looking for a cool sci-fi show.
    Its got its charm. Some of its appeal for me, is reminding me of when i was a kid. Friends of mine born in the eighties might not understand what i see in it. All they would see is cheap Saturday morning kid show.
    I think The Starlost would fall into that nostalgia category. But it would be a little overboard calling it as another Star Trek, or Space: 1999. IMO, of course! [​IMG]
     
  11. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    For the record, I think Starlost mixes aspects of those shows. I don't feel it is in the same ballpark of the two. I should have made that more clear.
     
  12. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    I have always known of this show, and never seen a single episode (or even a clip). But I have also never heard it described quite as vividly as Nebiroth's post above. Well done!

    I always thought the concept of the show sounded very, very good. Too bad they didn't have the money to envision it properly. And btw, Dr. Who really did spend some time and money on its visual look; listen to some of the dvd commentaries--they really did put some thought into those props and costumes before airtime. I think Dr. Who looks fantastic considering its financial limitations.
     
  13. younger1968

    younger1968 Cinematographer

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    i have watched all the episodes when i first purchased the dvd. There are some interesting episodes, especially the ones with Walter Koenig. I live the premised on the show. I do remember seeing it on tv in the late 1970s or early 1980.
     

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